Austin Reaves Sends A Message To The Doubters After Breakout Season

Mary Raleigh
01/10/2023
Austin Reaves speaks out on his biggest doubters.
  • Lakers guard gets real on the comparisons to Linsanity
  • Reaves says he will never let go of underdog mentality
  • Reaves is determined to prove the haters wrong with another breakout season

When it comes to the Lakers, everybody knows that they only go as far as their stars take them. For the 2023-24 season, that means all eyes will be on LeBron James and Anthony Davis as they attempt to bring the franchise another championship. Outside of those two, however, the Lakers will also need a strong performance from Austin Reaves if they want to beat their performance from last season.

Reaves, 25, is coming off a breakout campaign where he averaged a career-high 13 points, 3.4 assists, and 3 rebounds per game on 52% shooting. And while expectations are mixed on his prognosis for this season, Reaves is confident that he can deliver. “That hunger is for sure still there,” Reaves said in an interview with ClutchPoints. “I think that underdog chip, for me, it’ll never go away, regardless of how high it goes. I genuinely believe that — there’s always people that doubt but — there’s a majority of people that still doubt what I’m doing. I think a lot of people think it’s maybe situations that occur and then go away.”

Some fans have compared Reaves’ situation to the Jeremy Lin saga from years ago. Lin, who played point guard for several teams, caught fire for a few weeks during the season and his performance during that stretch caught the attention of the entire basketball world. Of course, it was a short-lived run for Lin, who eventually came back down to earth.


Is Austin Reaves A One-Hit Wonder?

After going undrafted in 2021, nobody thought that Reaves would be such an important player for the Lakers, but he’s made himself irreplaceable as a ball handler, playmaker, and iso scorer for the Purple and Gold. Today, even after showing his skills in 2023, Reaves is often cited for being overrated, but he doesn’t let any of the noise get to his head.

“People have told me, a lot of people try to compare it to the Jeremy Lin situation. For me, that’s the stuff that keeps me wanting to get better. And that’s the reason I’ve gotten to where I am. I’ve said many times I want to be able to, when I’m done, just look back and tell everybody to fuck off. Like, I did this and I didn’t do it the conventional way. It took me the long route. There was a hard way, you know, undrafted, two-way, regular contract, and then stuff panning out. But that’ll never change, that mindset will always be there.”

As good as Reaves has been on the court for the Lakers, it’s his personality that really shines through. As a top-level competitor willing to outwork his peers, Reaves brings a certain level of stability to the Lakers that reminds some people of Kobe Bryant himself.


Lakers Are The Best In The West

The Denver Nuggets are obviously the team to beat going into next season, but the Lakers can’t be too far behind them. With LeBron, Davis, and Reaves, LA reached the Conference Finals last season despite having played so few games together with the new roster. Over the summer, they doubled down on their guys by adding complimentary pieces like Taureen Prince, Cam Reddish, and former Heat sharpshooter Gabe Vincent.

Assuming the Lakers can stay healthy, they should be among the NBA’s best regular-season teams. The only question now is what role Reaves will play in this next chapter. The whole league is on notice now, and if Reaves can step up and become that third co-star for LA, then it will be the final nail in the coffin for those who questioned his game. Until then, Austin will keep playing with a massive chip on his shoulder.

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